Torn Purse Strap? Six Ways to Reinvent the Handbag by Replacing the Handle

Multiple Styles of Handbags
Ever have one of those days where your perfectly good purse betrays you with a broken or cracked strap?  Want to know how to fix the handbag so you can continue to use it but not be embarrassed by the messed-up handle?

I began experimenting with changing purse handles when I took a 3-hour car drive and found that the strap on my newly purchased purse had been caught in the door the whole trip!  Needless to say the 2-week-old purse now had a handle that looked more like two-years-old.  It was cracked beyond help.  Fortunately the strap handle was attached to the purse by two large O-rings.  So I cut the strap off at the fold over the rings using some very sharp and strong scissors.  Then I began looking for a either a metallic alligator-print belt with buckle to match the body of the handbag or a chain belt I could tread through the 0-rings.  I found a gold chain belt with the same size links throughout and voilà a new shoulder bag was made. (Or an old bag was saved depending on how you want to look at it.)  I threaded the chain through the O-rings and clipped it together at the end.  I could now carry the bag with a single chain on my shoulder or draw the chain up to a double row for a handbag worn at the elbow or carried in the hand. 

Five more ideas besides a chain belt as a strap include:
  • Buy a chain from a craft store in the length needed along with some snap clips to attach the chain to circle or square rings on the purse.  These clips or carabineers can also be used as replacements on purses that had a clip break or get sprung if the existing strap is still good. 
  • Purchase thick drapery cording or macramé cord from a fabric or craft store or get rope from a home improvement store for a more “boho” look on a hobo style bag.  Tie on one or two straps and then create tassels below the knots.  Be sure to apply glue to keep knot from coming untied and allow it time to dry. 
  • Find a craft store that offers metal, plastic, bamboo, or wood handles for people who sew handbag bodies. These handles may work depending on how the purse is constructed and if you can figure out how to attach them.   If the bag is fabric, you might be able to hand-sew rings or clips on the bag in order to attach the handles.   If the bag had O-rings or D-rings already, you may be able to use the snap clips or split rings to attach the new handles.
  • Consider regular leather belts that have buckles.  These can also be used as replacement straps on a purse that has 2 rings on each end.  However they may not look as nice as the buckle straps that are usually sewn directly onto purses.
  • Be sure you always keep the removable straps or chains from black or neutral color handbags when you have to toss out the bag it came with.  These neutral straps can be used as matching or contrasting handles on other purses in the future.
If your handbag has a sewn on strap, there is not an easy way to save the purse and have it still look good.  Trying to remove the strap could leave holes in the bag portion of the purse.  Instead of trying to save it for yourself, consider giving to a little girl you know for playing dress-up or to use as a toy tote.

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